Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday received Jack Ma, the co-founder and former Executive Chairman of the Chinese e-commerce firm, Alibaba group. Osinbajo at the meeting with Ma promised government support to Chinese businesses willing to invest in Nigeria. The investor and politician is leading a large delegation of Chinese investors to Nigeria. Jack Ma acknowledged that he came to Nigeria at the invitation of Osinbajo who wanted him to explore the investment opportunities in the country. The invitation was extended earlier this year in Davos, he said. Mr Ma came along with a delegation of other Chinese investors who could also potentially invest in the country.
The Nigeria Customs Service is seeking the reintroduction of import tax on petroleum products after it was suspended in 2004. The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, said this at the 2020 budget defence before the House of Representatives Committee on Customs. Before the suspension, a tax of ₦1.50 per litre of any petroleum product was paid by importers of fuel. Ali said it had become imperative to reintroduce the tax regime in line with global best practices as such was being implemented in about 36 countries at an average of $2.24 per gallon. The Customs boss said he had forwarded a proposal for a downward review of vehicle tariff to the Finance Ministry for consideration. The service was proposing that Customs duty on imported vehicles should remain 35 percent while the levy is reduced from the current 35 percent to between five and 10 percent. It is expected that the proposal if approved, will encourage compliance and boost revenue as the 70 percent import duty and levy are encouraging the smuggling of vehicles.
Nigeria and neighbouring countries, Benin and Niger, have agreed to set up a joint border patrol force to tackle smuggling between the West African countries. Foreign ministers from the three countries met to discuss smuggling in Abuja and said that the Benin and Niger delegations had appealed for the immediate re-opening of Nigeria’s borders. The concerns were noted and the delegates agreed on the “establishment of a joint border patrol team comprising the police, customs, immigration, navy and state security services of the three countries”, the communique said. The force will hold its first meeting in Abuja on 25 and 26 November, and will later advise on the re-opening of the borders. The delegates also agreed that the ministers of finance and trade from the countries would set up a committee to promote intra-regional trade, and said they would ensure people crossing their borders would display travel documents recognised by ECOWAS.
OPEC says that Nigeria’s oil output dropped to 1.811 million barrels per day in October 2019 from 1.848 bpd in the previous month. In the report, OPEC also said that crude oil output increased mostly in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and UAE, while production decreased in Ecuador, Angola, Iraq and Nigeria. The global oil cartel indicated that global economic growth forecast which usually drives oil prices remains at 3.0 per cent for both 2019 and 2020. It stated: “Growth forecasts for all major regions remain unchanged for 2019. For 2020, a small downward revision is expected for the Euro-zone and Brazil’s forecast was revised up slightly. Euro-zone growth remains at 1.2 per cent for 2019, but was revised down to 1.0 per cent for 2020.”